Hide in Plain Sight and Cover - Concealment


Rules Questions

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Ugh, I was going to make an argument here and...in the process, I changed my own mind.

Ok, so, you need two things to stealth:
1) You can't be observed
2) You need cover or concealment

When you have full cover or total concealment, you are also not observed because both, by definition, block line of sight. So, you automatically fulfill both requirements.

However, while using just regular cover or just concealment, you are still normally visible. If you were stealthed at the beginning of the turn, you are not observed and you can use this sort of cover/concealment to fulfill the requirements of stealth. But if you did not start your turn in stealth, you are observed, and therefore, cannot use normal cover/concealment to break line of sight and make a stealth check.

Frustratingly, I now believe that the point of Hide in Plain Sight is to, essentially, allow you to act as though regular cover and concealment can "break line of sight" so you can stealth even though a normal character would be observed.

Examples:

Bob, Mary, and Badguy are in the woods. There are big, thick trees that provide total cover, shrubbery that provides concealment, and large rocks that provide cover.

Bob does not have HiPS. Mary does. Both have potions of invisibility and blur.

If Bob starts his turn in plain sight, and runs behind a rock or shrubbery, he gets cover or concealment, but he cannot make a stealth check. If he runs behind a tree, he breaks los and has cover, so, he can stealth.

If he starts his turn behind a tree, he can roll stealth to leave his total cover as long as he ends his turn behind another tree, in some shrubbery, or behind a rock. If his stealth check fails, he needs to run behind another tree or take the potion of invisibility to stealth again.

If he start his turn in plain sight and then drinks the blur potion, he, once again, cannot stealth. However, if he ran behind the tree as above, he could stealth. If he then drank the blur potion, he could sneak out with stealth rolls and will always end his turn with concealment, thus allowing continued stealth until he does something to attract attention.

If Mary starts her turn in the open, she cannot stealth. But, if she moves behind a tree, a shrubbery, or a rock, or if she drinks a potion of blur or invisibility, she can stealth. She can continue to make stealth checks as long as she ends her turn with cover or concealment, regardless of whether or not she began her turn stealthed.

And, yeah, that is how I see it now, so I change my answer. No, in the blank room, the HiPS rogue could not hide, but he could if he had a Blur effect.


Byakko wrote:

Again, those who claim that merely breaking line of sight using cover or total concealment isn't sufficient to fulfill the "not observed" requirement:

You're essentially claiming that an observed rogue can walk into a 20' radius Fog Cloud and be unable to use Stealth, no matter where he wanders within that cloud, as long as the "observers" maintain focus on him. (despite being unable to use sight to locate him after the first 5')

How does that make any sense?

If you concede that cover/concealment IS sufficient to become unobserved, even without a specific distraction, that doesn't leave your version of HiPS with much value.

the stealth check is made as part of the movement action.

without hips:
if used as part of the movement action to enter the fog cloud, then it's null, because from the start of said movement till you actually reach the cloud, the opponents see you. So they KNOW you are IN the cloud (ofc not exactly where in the cloud due to concealment)

if you are already inside the cloud though, having concealment, you can use a move action somewhere with concealment and they will be none the wiser.

with hips:
HiPS makes it so that you can actually stealth from the get go. So you go inside the fog cloud, and suddenly the opponents go "huh? where did he go?" instead of "heh, he entered the cloud". For all they know, you could be inside the cloud, behind them in a bush, behind that big rock over there, invisible and next to them, or flat out teleported away

edit:
my own visual for HiPS is like those manga swordsmen that are able to 100% slip the attention of their opponents, appearing as they teleport from place to place when in fact they just move closer when the opponent's perception slips away. Using HiPS without cover/concealment would be similar to me in one of my games. The rogue would walk from place A to place B, and while the opponents would be able to see him in the start and end of his movement, the inbetween will be lost. So he would appear to them to teleport from place to place, while in fact he just walks there in such a way that he slips their attention


shroudb wrote:
Byakko wrote:

Again, those who claim that merely breaking line of sight using cover or total concealment isn't sufficient to fulfill the "not observed" requirement:

You're essentially claiming that an observed rogue can walk into a 20' radius Fog Cloud and be unable to use Stealth, no matter where he wanders within that cloud, as long as the "observers" maintain focus on him. (despite being unable to use sight to locate him after the first 5')

How does that make any sense?

If you concede that cover/concealment IS sufficient to become unobserved, even without a specific distraction, that doesn't leave your version of HiPS with much value.

the stealth check is made as part of the movement action.

without hips:
if used as part of the movement action to enter the fog cloud, then it's null, because from the start of said movement till you actually reach the cloud, the opponents see you. So they KNOW you are IN the cloud (ofc not exactly where in the cloud due to concealment)

if you are already inside the cloud though, having concealment, you can use a move action somewhere with concealment and they will be none the wiser.

Does the same apply to the tree? Move action to behind the tree. Move action with stealth to get from behind the tree to somewhere else with c/c.


thejeff wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Byakko wrote:

Again, those who claim that merely breaking line of sight using cover or total concealment isn't sufficient to fulfill the "not observed" requirement:

You're essentially claiming that an observed rogue can walk into a 20' radius Fog Cloud and be unable to use Stealth, no matter where he wanders within that cloud, as long as the "observers" maintain focus on him. (despite being unable to use sight to locate him after the first 5')

How does that make any sense?

If you concede that cover/concealment IS sufficient to become unobserved, even without a specific distraction, that doesn't leave your version of HiPS with much value.

the stealth check is made as part of the movement action.

without hips:
if used as part of the movement action to enter the fog cloud, then it's null, because from the start of said movement till you actually reach the cloud, the opponents see you. So they KNOW you are IN the cloud (ofc not exactly where in the cloud due to concealment)

if you are already inside the cloud though, having concealment, you can use a move action somewhere with concealment and they will be none the wiser.

Does the same apply to the tree? Move action to behind the tree. Move action with stealth to get from behind the tree to somewhere else with c/c.

If the tree is big enough to grant total concealment, probably yes? haven't actually had to rule that one over in any of my games.

edit (because you posted while editing i'm reposting this bit here):

my own visual for HiPS is like those manga swordsmen that are able to 100% slip the attention of their opponents, appearing as they teleport from place to place when in fact they just move closer when the opponent's perception slips away. Using HiPS without cover/concealment would be similar to me in one of my games. The rogue would walk from place A to place B, and while the opponents would be able to see him in the start and end of his movement, the inbetween will be lost. So he would appear to them to teleport from place to place, while in fact he just walks there in such a way that he slips their attention

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

thejeff wrote:
Shadowdancer's version ... As long as you're within 10' of dim light, you can use stealth even while being observed and without actually entering the dim light or finding other cover/concealment.

Correct. But if the ability doesn't note this like Shadowdancer's you need to find cover or concealment.


This is how I run it:

Hard C/C allows a rogue to start and/or maintain Stealth.
Soft C/C allows a rogue to maintain Stealth (only).
Soft C/C allows a rogue with HiPS to start and/or maintain Stealth.

Player creativity (Creating a Diversion, hiding in the rafters or otherwise defying conventional expectations, feigning harmlessness using Bluff or Disguise or Sleight of Hand) counts as Soft or Hard C/C temporarily, at my discretion.

If I wanted it to be "Poof!" I would rename it "Disappear from Plain Sight"...


This full C/C vs partial C/C is nowhere explicit in the rules, correct?

It's derived from full C/C breaking line of sight and thus observation.


thejeff wrote:
This full C/C vs partial C/C is nowhere explicit in the rules, correct?

It's shorthand.

"Hard C/C" = Cover or Total Concealment, "Soft C/C" = Soft Cover or Concealment


rainzax wrote:
thejeff wrote:
This full C/C vs partial C/C is nowhere explicit in the rules, correct?

It's shorthand.

"Hard C/C" = Cover or Total Concealment, "Soft C/C" = Soft Cover or Concealment

No, I get that.

The distinction for how it's used to stealth is what I'm talking about. All the stealth rules just talk about cover or concealment without specifying partial or total.


The Stealth rules are not only scattered but they contradict themselves on this issue. I could quote a "yes" from one section of the CRB and you could cross-post back a "no" from another section - we would both be "right."

My table variation of "make a Stealth check" is to draw a line in the sand between initiating and maintaining. That is my interpretation. A compromise between simple and workable that is rememberable enough that it prevents busting out rulebooks every time somebody wants to roll Stealth, generous enough to let the rogue be a rogue, and flexible enough to allow creativity to play a keen factor.


rainzax wrote:
thejeff wrote:
This full C/C vs partial C/C is nowhere explicit in the rules, correct?

It's shorthand.

"Hard C/C" = Cover or Total Concealment, "Soft C/C" = Soft Cover or Concealment

Be careful with your terminology guys. Full/partial cover is something TOTALLY different than hard/soft cover.

Full/partial refers to the amount of cover provided. I.e., whether they are partially out of sight or completely out of sight.

Hard/soft refers to the type of cover. I.e., hard cover is stuff like walls and soft cover is generally provided by creatures.


Full/Partial is quantity.

Hard/Soft is quality.

For Concealment, what I mean by "Soft Concealment" and "Hard Concealment," both of which are not explicit game terms, but which are indeed game concepts (I would argue), consider the difference between the concealment granted by the Blur spell vs that granted by dim light.


actual stealth rules wrote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth

From this do not need both concealment/cover to hide. It simply is a method that allows you to not be observed, which is the prerequisite for attempting stealth.

Thus, if hide in plain sight removes the need for not being observed, cover/concealment is not needed either since it was only a method of removing the state of being observed.


I'm in favor of the "HiPS allows you to start you turn entering Stealth, but you must use it to find cover/concealment" interpretation. It allows the Feat/Ability be used to make an escape, but not be abused to continue making Sneak Attacks round after round (i.e., like a form of invisibility).


People seems to forget you still need to make a stealth check that beats the perception check of your foes.

Sure, a specialist in stealth will get some nice bonus who will cover them on that... But that doesn't mean he can't fail or can't be detected in any way.

- Scent still exist and indicate you when someone is at 5 or 10ft from you depending on the wind, and other senses can't be fooled.
- Blindsense still pinpoint you too, without perception check.
- Blindsight can't be fooled, no perception check required.
- Tremorsense always pinpoint you, no perception required.

etc etc...

They'll know you're here, even if you have total concealment from them (except for blindsight).

I can't understand how is it even a big deal. Yes, it's a better form of "greater invisibility", but it's often a pain in the staff to get it and to employ it.

To use stealth, you need to make a stealth check, which is still limited by this:

PRD, Stealth wrote:

It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.

[...]
Action: Usually none. Normally, you make a Stealth check as part of movement, so it doesn't take a separate action. However, using Stealth immediately after a ranged attack (see Sniping, above) is a move action.

Full attacks are over with this, and except with spring attack, your location is nearly known. Still not sure where to attack ? Just area blast the bastard with things that don't use reflex saves. Stinking cloud for example.

Or simply use glitterdust/faery fire/a pack of flour and club it to death.


Otherwhere wrote:
... but not be abused to continue making Sneak Attacks round after round (i.e., like a form of invisibility).

How is this an abuse? How is the rogue being able to use the only thing he gets to do damage, abused if he actually gets to use it every round? I mean the barbarian gets to do his rage, power attacking two handed swing every round, usually 2 or 3 times a round. Is a Rogue who can do some damage every round really that abusive?


Jodokai wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:
... but not be abused to continue making Sneak Attacks round after round (i.e., like a form of invisibility).
How is this an abuse? How is the rogue being able to use the only thing he gets to do damage, abused if he actually gets to use it every round? I mean the barbarian gets to do his rage, power attacking two handed swing every round, usually 2 or 3 times a round. Is a Rogue who can do some damage every round really that abusive?

You're missing what I'm saying is abused. Sneak Attack is fine. It's the HiPS that's been abused.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

the bonus required to successfully stealth using HiPS is not something a normal human could do, thus trying to explain it requiring normal human possibilities is pointless.

It specifically allows you to stealth while being observed. it's a general mastery of the terrain to in some way go unnoticed.

In essence by saying their is no cover and it is completely blank you as the GM are saying it's not urban terrain. I mean there are magic items that improve your stealth roll as well, they tend to make you harder to see, but the bonuses they give are easily obtainable with skill ranks, thus i feel that any character with a proper amount of stealth ranks can stealth if they have the ability to do so.

You have to overcome the observers attention and this ability allows you to do so.


HectorVivis wrote:

People seems to forget you still need to make a stealth check that beats the perception check of your foes.

Sure, a specialist in stealth will get some nice bonus who will cover them on that... But that doesn't mean he can't fail or can't be detected in any way.

- Scent still exist and indicate you when someone is at 5 or 10ft from you depending on the wind, and other senses can't be fooled.
- Blindsense still pinpoint you too, without perception check.
- Blindsight can't be fooled, no perception check required.
- Tremorsense always pinpoint you, no perception required.

etc etc...

They'll know you're here, even if you have total concealment from them (except for blindsight).

I can't understand how is it even a big deal. Yes, it's a better form of "greater invisibility", but it's often a pain in the staff to get it and to employ it.

I don't think anyone is forgetting that one needs to make a stealth check.

How does the fact that blindsight, blindsense, scent and tremorsense notice something make it okay? Saying that just says that it's significantly like invisibility. Also blindsense, tremorsense, and scent can't actually specifically spot the target, meaning they lose Dex to AC, have a 50% miss chance, and can't target at range. They just know what square the target is located in.

Just because you've been "detected", doesn't mean you can't sneak attack.


Tarczan wrote:

I do not understand form where people get that you need to fulfill two requirements to use stealth, when it clearly says that you only need to not be observed to use stealth and cover or concealment usually helps with that.

If you read it that way, why would anyone ever try to cause a distraction to hide when they can just do it?


Joesi wrote:

I don't think anyone is forgetting that one needs to make a stealth check.

How does the fact that blindsight, blindsense, scent and tremorsense notice something make it okay? Saying that just says that it's significantly like invisibility. Also blindsense, tremorsense, and scent can't actually specifically spot the target, meaning they lose Dex to AC, have a 50% miss chance, and can't target at range. They just know what square the target is located in.

Just because you've been "detected", doesn't mean you can't sneak attack.

I agree. It's just that you can't full attack, and even attacking is pretty darn complicated:

You need to move to make your stealth check, so except if you play ranged or you have spring attack (and I'm not even sure you can use it that way), you'll have big time beginning and finishing the round in stealth. If you can't begin/finish the round in stealth, you'll probably finish clubbed.

It's not even a problem of how HIPS work, it's a freakin' problem of action economy.

HIPS gives nice things... But they are still pretty balanced usually (requirements, how to use it, number of counters, etc...).
In the end, I find it to be an extremely good out-of-combat ability with some uses in fight. But nothing a buff from your wizard bro couldn't get you for your level.

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